NEW YORK -- In a preliminary report on the July 1998 fire aboard
Carnival Cruise Lines' Ecstasy, the National Transportation Safety
Board recommended that Carnival and other cruise operators make
more than a dozen changes to upgrade equipment and safety
NTSB said the smoky fire, which occurred within range of
television news helicopters and made national newscasts, was
probably caused by crew members performing "unauthorized welding"
in the ship's laundry room in violation of Carnival's company
NTSB said the absence of fire alarms and extinguishers on the
aft mooring deck contributed to the fire's spread and the
The ship also lacked emergency phones in crew cabins, delaying
the rescue of two crew members, said Donald Tyrell, a chief NTSB
Tyrell said all rooms aboard cruise ships should contain
emergency call systems so help can be located quickly.
NTSB's nonbinding report also recommended that cruise lines
install new sprinkler systems on mooring decks.
A Carnival Corp. spokesman said the company has implemented
several of NTSB's recommendations and was evaluating others,
including additional methods of calling for help during fires.
The blaze ignited laundry lint in the ship's ventilation system,
which traveled to Ecstasy's stern, igniting mooring lines. The ship
then lost power and began drifting.
The fire resulted in minor injuries to 14 crew members and eight
passengers among the 3,481 aboard the ship and caused $17 million